Hockey fans... We know these are dark times as the NHL Lockout officially began on September 15th. No one can say for sure when NHL Hockey will be back on the ice, but fans of the game in this area still have the chance to see it played at a high level. The Frisco-based Texas Tornado play in the North American Hockey League, a developmental league where some of the top hockey prospects in the country compete for a chance to be noticed by collegiate and professional scouts.
The Tornado have marked success in that regard since the team was founded in 1999, as over 130 former players have gone on to play in either the NCAA or professional ranks. The fast-paced, hard-hitting style of play is perfect for casual and die-hard fans alike. Interested? Follow me past the jump for a five point introduction to the Texas Tornado, DFW's latest championship team!
1. Gold and Black are Back - 2012 Robertson Cup National Champions!
Everyone loves a winner, and that's exactly what you're getting with the Tornado. This upcoming season will be the 13th in franchise history, and the Tornado have won the Robertson Cup (the NAHL's equivalent to the Stanley Cup) five times. After winning it all the first time in 2001, Texas reeled off three titles in a row, from 2004-2006, before winning Robertson Cup #5 this past May. The 2012-13 season is already underway, with the Tornado winning all four games played at the Combat Hockey/NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn. last week. However, the home opener will be played on Saturday, September 29th against the Wichita Falls Wildcats, at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco at 7:30pm, where the Tornado will unveil their Robertson Cup Championship banner before looking to move to 5-0-0 on the young campaign.
2. Just as Tough to Beat the Prices
Families are looking for fun and affordable entertainment these days, something the Tornado can absolutely provide. Single-game tickets range anywhere from $10-$16, but pricing is done by section, rather than by row. What this means is that a family-of-four can get seats behind the net, right on the glass for as little as $40! Fans who are interested in a coming to more games have their options, as well. Flex packages start as low as $80 and get you 10 vouchers to any Tornado home game. They can be used in any combination for any game (10 tickets to 1 game, 1 ticket to 10 games, or anything in between). Of course, season ticket plans are still available, and start as low as $80 for 10 great Tornado games.
3. Check out the facility
Some people might shy away from a non-traditional hockey team not knowing the kind of rink at which the team plays. The Tornado play their home games at the state-of-the-art Dr Pepper Arena, which seats up to 4,000 people for hockey games and provides great sightlines of the rink regardless of seat location. The team also has private party areas and luxury suites available to purchase on a game-by-game basis. Incidentally, the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco is also home to the Dallas Stars practice facility and executive offices.
4. Learn the game
"I feel like I'd enjoy hockey, but everything just moves too fast and I can't follow the action on TV." We hear this from a lot of people and we understand the sentiment. If you're just a casual fan of the game, it isn't easy to anticipate a play if you can only see half of the ice on your TV screen. But you'd be amazed how great the game is to watch in person, especially when you can do it inexpensively at Dr Pepper Arena. And when you can see the whole ice, the game tends to slow down and makes it even easier to figure out. Watching a play develop before your eyes from start-to-finish can do wonders to your understanding of the game, so you'll never be caught saying "what just happened there," when you're watching hockey again.
5. Community Involvement
Tornado players are unbelievably active throughout the North Texas community, attending everything from school assemblies to Opening Day for the Miracle League of Frisco. In fact, five of our current players even attend high school in Frisco ISD at Wakeland High. These players have moved from all over the world; places like Finland, Florida, Michigan, Canada, Wisconsin, Russia. You may have a son or daughter at Wakeland who had no idea they were classmates with someone who moved here to play hockey. Come out and support them!
Tornado Quick Hits:
As I mentioned earlier, the Tornado are 4-0 on the young season and were named 2012 Combat Hockey/NAHL Showcase Champions this past weekend. The game recaps for those four games are below.
Tornado Open Season with 7-1 Dismantling of Michigan
Texas moves to 2-0, with 6-3 victory over Fresno
Tornado continue to roll, win 5-3 over Janesville
Tornado complete Showcase Sweep, Beat Chill 4-3 in SO
Justin Greenberg, of Plano, Texas, was named NAHL's South Division Star of the Week. Details here.
Apparently, the Tornado organization had a good week up in Blaine. Story here.
As always, you can follow all things Tornado-related at www.NAHL.com or www.TornadoHockey.com.
I can be reached directly via email at Nick@TornadoHockey.com